The Midwest is filled with major urban centers such as Chicago and Detroit, but Columbus is one of the most compelling options for those looking to live in one of the Midwest’s urban centers.
Columbus, Ohio’s capital and biggest city, is along the scenic Scioto River. The rapidly growing metropolis has emerged as a top-notch place to live and an economic and cultural capital. Let’s explore some of the characteristics of Columbus that have made it one of the top cities to live in the Midwest.
Pleasant Outdoor Sites in and Around the City
Although Columbus is a highly populated area, it still maintains several scenic areas ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Columbus is known for its public parks with sports facilities and playgrounds. The Scioto Mile consists of a system of trails along the river and nine different parks, encompassing more than 175 acres downtown.
Just outside of Columbus, there are plenty of natural areas to explore. Alum Creek State Park is a 3,385-acre area, just a half-hour drive from Columbus. It is a destination for hiking, fishing, and boating. There are other unique environments near the city as well, including the vast Olentangy Indian Caverns.
Plenty to See and Do
If you prefer living an urban lifestyle in a city with plenty to do, Columbus is your kind of place. It is a thriving center of culture with everything from top-notch museums to a renowned food scene. Columbus’s museums and cultural attractions include the excellent Columbus Museum of Art, the family-friendly Center of Science and Industry (commonly known as COSI), and the massive Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Columbus has many distinct areas that are great for exploring or settling down. German Village is a neighborhood known for its 19th-century homes, brick sidewalks and streets, and appealing shops and restaurants. The Short North Arts District is known as a hip, trendy area with vintage shops, art galleries, record stores, and cafes. Columbus is also home to the sprawling Ohio State University campus, contributing to its young population and lively nightlife.
Strong Economy and Affordable Homes
Living in a major city is particularly beneficial when there’s access to a large job market with diverse opportunities filled with potential. This is certainly the case in Columbus, which is emerging as a rising economic power. Columbus’s economy comprises many thriving sectors, as no single industry dominates the job market. Some of its large employers include JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bread Financial (formerly Alliance Data), DHL, Intel, and Nationwide Insurance, providing ample opportunities for residents to find employment with Fortune 500 industry leaders.
Even with one of the most significant economies in the Midwest, Columbus has not crossed the threshold into unaffordability like many other major cities. Living in Columbus is still comparably affordable compared to other leading American cities. According to Redfin, the median sales price of a home in Columbus was $250,000 in February 2023. While the job market has plenty of high-paying positions, real estate remains accessible to the average city resident.